Monday, March 30, 2009

Into Egypt

Ok, so Jacob now has the inheritance of his father Isaac and his father Abraham. God also appears to Jacob in a dream and speaks to him. “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. . . I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Gen. 28:13 & 15

I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited! As we journey to our promised land – He will not leave us until He has done what He promised! And trust me, He is never far from us! But I just think that is an awesome example of how God longs for us to inherit our promised land and experience all that He has planned for us!

In Gen. 35, God repeats His promise to Jacob and his descendants. He also changes Jacob’s name to Israel. Yep, his descendants are the Israelites! Jacob had 12 sons. His favorite was Joseph. You might be familiar with Joseph’s story. If not, check out Gen. 37-50. Long story short: Joseph’s brother’s sell him for 20 shekels of silver to a band of Midianites, they go to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar (captain of the guard to Pharaoh), he winds up in prison for a while (you gotta read it!), gets out of prison because the LORD gave him the ability to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. Pharaoh makes him second in command in all of Egypt (the only one higher than Joseph is Pharaoh himself)! Joseph is in charge of all the food during the famine and . . . wouldn’t you know it – Jacob heard that there is food in Egypt and he sends the brothers there. They eventually find out that this guy in charge is Joseph, the Pharaoh tells Joseph to invite all of his family (70 people at the time) to live in Egypt. Of course Jacob is ecstatic when he finds out that Joseph is still alive! The LORD speaks to Jacob and tells him to go to Egypt but He will surely bring him back again (Gen. 46:4). Joseph and Jacob reunite. They live happily ever after – for awhile. Jacob dies in Egypt but his sons return to Canaan to bury him. Joseph lives to be 110 and also dies in Egypt. His last words are this. “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And he made them promise that they would carry his bones up out of Egypt (Gen 50: 24-26).

So here we are, in Exodus where the first chapter tells us that the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied. The new king, who did not know about Joseph, decided that the Egyptians must enslave the Israelites or else they will overpower them. Exodus 1:14 says, They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly. The king also gave a decree to all of the midwives to kill any boys that were born to the Israelites. The midwives feared God and disobeyed the Pharaoh. And then Pharaoh said, “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Ex. 1:22

And here we have the story of Moses! I encourage you to read the first two chapters of Exodus – what an awesome testimony of a sovereign God! And what faith Moses’ mother displayed when she placed her baby in a basket and sent him floating down a river! The Bible doesn’t say – but I can’t help but think that God spoke to her and she believed Him with all of her heart that Moses was set apart and that He would protect him. What courage and faith she displayed – and she didn’t even get her name mentioned! This passage humbles me – so often I want recognition for what “I” have done. Yet it is only by God’s grace that I am able to do anything. And who am I to take credit for God? This passage is a reminder to serve and obey the Lord regardless of whether or not we get a pat on the back. The Lord will lift up the humble in due time. He mentions Moses’ mother’s name, Jochebed, in Ex. 6:20. I think she was richly rewarded for her faith, whether or not she saw those rewards here on earth we do not know. Remember that we will spend eternity in heaven! God also has blessings waiting for us there! I do not think the reward was her motivation though – she loved the Lord her God with all of her heart, mind and soul. And the Lord used her to play a small but crucial part in His enormous plan!

The Lord wants to use you and I in our day to bring Him glory and to accomplish His plan!

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